Middle Sister

July 31-August 1, 1999

This trip was rescheduled twice due to the extended closure of the Old McKenzie Hwy. We approached Middle Sister from the Obsidian trailhead, and ran into deep snow pack shortly above the trailhead. The trail is marked by tree blazes, but was hard to follow in places. We set our camp at Arrowhead Lake, but the lake was still buried deep under several feet of snow. Our camp was peaceful, highlighted by a brilliant meteor and a curious thundering boom in the early morning hours.

After rising at 4:00 a.m., the group was on the trail shortly after 5:00, climbing firm snow under a brilliant moon, and rosy pink dawn. We climbed with crampons up steep snow fields directly to Prouty Point, then traversed south along the saddle between North and Middle Sisters. There were several other groups climbing that morning, and there was somewhat of a traffic jam as climbers slowed to negotiate steep, icy snow fields at the base of the summit ridge. Te summit was a festive and crowded spot that morning, with a few clouds and light breezes. All of our climbers were on top by 9:45. Sue Sullivan celebrated her Obsidian Three Peak award and newly earned Princess status by donning a long dress and tiara, an outfit made complete by knee-high gaiters, three-pin ski boots and an ice ax. Simply ravishing! After a lot of smiles and laughs, we descended Renfrew Glacier under rapidly building thunderhead clouds. Sue carved telemark turns down Renfrew on skis she carried from camp, but the August suncups made her turns difficult. She skied the Renfrew and the lower snowfields all the way into camp! We packed up and headed down the trail in a hurry, only to be caught by rain showers and nearby lightning at the crossing of White Branch Creek. We quickly scurried across the lava flow and down into the relative shelter of the forest. Thankfully, the storm moved north rapidly, and the sun was shining by the time we made the cars.

Sharing this wonderful weekend was Jan & Rick Anselmo, Peggy Lee Mathes, Doug McCarty, Mike Moffitt, Matt Spilde, Sue Sullivan and leader Brian Hoyland.

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